Back-to-Basics Handpan-Making - With Colin Foulke

The “Handpan-Building” section of this website where we’ve listed some of our favourite resources that we’ve stumbled across over the years remains one of the most visited sections of this website. Proving that building one’s own Handpan is still something that many aspire to achieve.

And while many makers these days seemingly utilize ever more technologically advanced tools and machines to industrialize the Handpan-building process. A recent video from noted maker, Colin Foulke, shows him putting most of the gizmos aside - in favour of little more than a tuning ring, and just three hammers...

“Inspired to get back to the roots of this art form I set aside all my tools and machines, selected 3 hammers, and set out to make a handpan 100% by hand.” 



An amazing resource for both new and seasoned makers, the video provides a walk-through of how to build a Handpan with only the most basic of equipment. And as is usually the case with Colin Foulke’s creations, the end results are beautiful. In fact, it’s the very Handpan you can hear playing throughout the video.

And should you be visiting this page prior to Christmas day, 2018 - we'd definitely recommend watching the above video all the way to the end...

Learn more about the work of Colin Foulke over at his website: HERE.  

Woodpan - Half-and-Half Handpan made by Sew

While the Handpan is a thing of beauty in its traditional form, as imagined by the original Hang-makers, PANArt.  It’s human to find fascination in variations, and anomalies.  Something Handpan makers around the world have provided us with in plenty over the years, as they continue to experiment with the singing-steel UFO form. 

Not quite as “woody” as the Hamgam, but still pretty woody, are these somewhat unusual Handpan from Sew.  A new range of Italian-made instruments known as “Woodpan”,  that feature an upper-dome made of steel, and a bottom-shell made of 50-year aged wood.  Coated in a special wax made of Mexican insects, a process reportedly used in the creation of musical instruments by artisans in the Middle Ages…

And as an added bonus, the demonstration video is a short performance from one of our favorite Handpan performers, Sam Maher, which you can take a listen to below... 



"Woodpan was born with this particular purpose: reach a new frequency... Nature’s frequency, our heart’s frequency." From the Sew website. 

And upon listening, they do have a unique quality and timbre to their sound that is interesting to the ear.  And you can watch a short video of the Mexican-beetle glaze being applied to the lower-shell below.



For more information you can visit the Woodpan section of the Sew Handpans website: HERE

Chunky Pure Wool Handpan Polishing Covers for Sale

One of the reasons we promote ETSY here at HPM (in addition to it providing a small revenue stream) is that not only is it one of the fairer market-places in which instrument makers can offer their creations for sale - being handmade-goods centric, it also provides those of a “crafty” nature a platform through which to offer some interesting, unique, and often-beautiful Handpan accessories, such as you might not find elsewhere.  Like the exceptionally-funky pure-wool Handpan polishing covers you can see pictured right. 

Offered for sale by FlowismYoga, these rainbow-hued warm-winter coats for Handpan, are made from super bulky pure hand dyed Merino wool from South America - a type of material that comes from the Merino Sheep and is renowned for its exceptional properties. Among these properties are its fantastic softness, shine and breathability. The fibres of Merino wool are softer, finer and more sensitive than many other fabrics. 

And in addition to instantly transforming your Handpan into the belle-of-the-ball, and the fashion-envy of all others, they also offer a certain degree of protection - particularly from such nasties as dust, and pesky fingerprints - with this chunky-knit sleeve forming a naturally polishing envelope, within which to home your singing-steel UFO. 

For more information and/or to make a purchase, you can find them over at ETSY: HERE.

Indian Spiritual Leader, Sadhguru, Plays Handpan

Not to be outdone by fellow spiritual-leader the Dalai Lama, whose tentative Handpan performance(s) we documented back in 2016, Jaggi Vasudev, more commonly known as “Sadhguru”, the Indian yogi and mystic, with a large following. Also appears to be a big fan of the Handpan instrument - as can be seen in the following video, within which Sadhguru goes beyond the Dalai Lama’s gentle prodding of the instrument, to offer up a short, but fairly solid performance of his own (featured below).

"If you cannot notice your breath, how will you notice anything subtler than that?"

Founder of the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization which offers Yoga programs around the world and is involved in social outreach, education and environmental initiatives. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan award by the Government of India on 13 April 2017 in recognition of his contribution towards spirituality.  And as a measurable metric of popularity for these modern times, Sadhguru has well over two million followers over at Facebook. And an almost equal number of Twitter fans too.  And without further ado, here's Sadhguru, performing upon "Hang drum" (Handpan)...



To learn more from Sadhguru, you can find him over at Facebook: HERE

The PanBoeddha Workshop - An Amsterdam-Based Handpan School

While here at HPM, we’re in the habit of focusing more on online Handpan endeavours, particularly in regards to highlighting online learning resources, such as David Charrier’s “Master the Handpan” series of online courses. Occasionally we also like to take a look around, and see what Handpan folk are upto - beyond the constraints of the interwebs.

Handpan gatherings and festivals have long been popular, and beyond those as meeting points, locations such as the PANArt Hanghaus have (at least in days gone by) long served as pilgrimage-like destinations for fans of the instrument type. While other makers such as EchoSoundSculptures, also continue that trend by hosting regular concerts and meetups.

And should you be in, or able to travel to Amsterdam - another location we’ve been learning of more and more recently, is the "PanBoeddha Workshop". A non-digital route through which those looking to expand their skills, or perhaps even get their first touch of a Handpan, can explore the instrument, in the company of fellow Handpan enthusiasts, musicians, and students...



'If the mountain will not come to PanBoeddha Handpan school, Pan Boeddha traveling Handpan school will go to the mountain!’.

In addition to offering Handpan-themed workshops at their location in Amsterdam, the PanBoeddha Workshop also offers a travelling Handpan-school.  Visiting such locations as Ibiza, Germany, and beyond, to bring a little Handpan-goodness to those unable to travel themselves...



To find more information you can visit PanBoeddha Workshop over at Facebook: HERE.

Isthmus Instruments - Handpan from the Rabbit-Hole

Based in Madison, U.S.A., Isthmus Instruments, are the creations of one of the first female Handpan-makers, Jenny Robinson.  Like many Jenny first discovered these singing-steel UFOs via YouTube - and in an article over at Isthmus.com, Jenny Robinson explains how she “fell down the rabbit-hole", and "fell in love with the sound” upon first hearing them.  And it wasn’t long after, having decided that this was something that she needed within her life, calling upon her machinist-background, Jenny setup her own Handpan-building studio - and would dedicate the next four years (and counting) of her life, to the art of building and tuning Handpan.  And while by her own admission the journey between the points of enthusiastically diving in head-first, and the level she now finds herself at, led to the accumulation of a "grave yard of disaster pans" on-route (as every fledgling maker likely collects). Every mistake was clearly well learned from - as can be heard in the most recent offerings of Isthmus Instruments - one of which; you can take a listen to below...



In addition to building beautiful instruments, building a community around them is also something that is notably of importance to the Isthmus Instruments team - who in mid 2017 hosted the first Handpan gathering in the midwest (which you can check out below) - which they hope to hold annually moving forwards...



And we'll finish off this post by sharing one last recent video from the Isthmus Instuments team, featuring a pair of their more recent creations, including a stunning looking (and sounding) custom-made, golden-tree-adorned; C Aeolian...



To find Isthmus Handpan for sale you can visit their ETSY store: HERE. Or for the latest updates you can find them over at Facebook: HERE. Or over at their official website: HERE.

Do You Cringey-Face? - Making Weird Faces While Playing Music

In a recent video uploaded to YouTube (unfortunately now removed) featuring the unboxing of a brand new Handpan, the YouTuber explained that, “...I'm only gonna show my hands, don’t like cringey face...”. Highlighting a common problem likely suffered by many Handpan’ers (including us) - the urge to distort one's face into all manner of unusual and not normally exhibited facial-gymnastics, and expressions, while playing Handpan. Or as the aforementioned YouTuber put it more simply, “...that cringey face…”.

And it certainly isn’t a phenomenon associated only with the Handpan. Whether you play the piano, the violin, or perhaps most frequently commented upon, the guitar, cringe-face appears to be the curse of musicians across all musical-borders. Affecting some more than others. And while we wouldn't be cruel enough to compile our own compilation of cringey-faced Handpan’ers, you can get the general idea from the compilation below of guitarists showing off their best “guitar faces”.



Perhaps this is the real reason that so many Handpan musicians only show videos of their hands flying across the surface of their instruments.  Could the likes of Adrian J Portia be pulling mad-grimaces just out of camera view?

And while we stated above that we would never be cruel enough to highlight any specific examples of cringey-face within the Handpan community (psyke), hopefully Ravid Goldschmidt won't mind too much, if in exchange for a little extra free advertising (GO BUY AN OVAL!) we share the following video - which is not only one of our favourite Hang performances ever, but also goes some way to proving the correlation between the beauty of any particular piece, and the near-ecstatic facial expressions sometimes exhibited by the player(s) performing it...



How to Stop Cringey-Face

Should you be self-conscious as to your cringey-face when performing - borrowing from a suggestion on a similar post found over at Violinist.com. practising and performing in front of a mirror is said to help.  Allowing you not only to study and perhaps learn to control the offending facial expressions.  But it is also said to relieve some of the inner-tensions caused by over-concentration; that are thought to lead to the exhibiting of funny-faces in the first place.

Alternatively, you may well be better off embracing and learning to love your oft-wild facial-manifestations, agonised snarls, wide-eyed orgasmic joy, and all.  Taking comfort in the fact that as long as those listening to your performance aren't making cringey-faces of their own - then things could definitely be worse.

Steel Monkey Sound Sculptures - From Russia With Monkey-Love

While the Handpan instruments of Steel Monkey Sound Sculptures might not be as large, or indeed ferocious, as the giant steel-made "Robot-Kong", from the movie, King Kong Escapes. Should you ever find your home-land terrorized by an oversized, and very ticked-off giant gorilla - instead of building yourself a metal-monkey of epic-proportions with which to battle him to the death, you may well fare better by grabbing yourself one of the sweet-sounding singing-steel UFOs of Steel Monkey Sound Sculptures, and attempting to lull said Kong into a more passive and relaxed state instead.  Serenading and soothing the beast...



Based in Russia, the Steel Monkey Sound Sculptures team consists of Roman Elizarjev and Vitaliy 'IVA' Ivanov.  Two self-described Pantam-enthusiasts turned makers - the Steel Monkey guys are students of Anton Zakharov of Siberia Sound Sculptures.  And have also been working with, or at least obtaining materials (presumably shells) from the SPB crew, headed by Victor Levinson - which demonstrates some serious pedigree right out of the gates.  And you can listen to the Steel Monkey team's most recent offering below...



For more information on Steel Monkey Sound Sculptures, you can find them over at Facebook: HERE.

Inside the PanMagination of Chris Ng - Handpan Art and T-Shirt Designs

Whether simply an admirer of Handpan-themed art, or you’re actively on the lookout for some new Handpan-adorned threads with which to snazz-up your wardrobe - you might enjoy joining us on this brief journey, into the Handpan-centric imaginings of Hong-Kong based artist and designer, Chris Ng.

We’ve stumbled across some interesting Handpan art over the years, such as the Hangism works of AoxoA, and the t-shirt designs of the Charlatan Crew (to name just a couple).  And the curious Handpan-art offerings of Chris Ng add well to this rich tapestry - and are among the most intriguing we’ve yet explored...


From Handpan-airships, to Handpan space-vessels.  Ladies pregnant with Handpan-offsrping, and Handpan-hearts (of the non Valentines day kind).  The arts, stories, sketches, and imaginations of Chris Ng are sure to delight fans of the Handpan (or "Pantam", as Chris prefers to call it) in this world, and in world's both real and imagined beyond...


And to view more of Chris's work (or even to purchase a t-shirt displaying his art) you can find him over at Facebook: HERE.

Pantam Stands - A Handpan Stand by Any Other Name

For those who don’t know, “Pantam”, is essentially an alternative name used by some for the Handpan-family of instruments. Said to be a combination of the words, “Pan”, and “Ghatam”, the Pantam moniker is believed to have first been used in Israel, as an alternative name for the Hang instruments of PANArt, back in the early years. But has now been adopted to some degree in the wider context. So when, with this post, we take a look at the newly offered up Pantam stands of Thomas and Avigdor Ben Tov from Avi Ot Woodcrafts, for our needs here at HPM, you can translate these as being Handpan stands.

The culmination of two years of work and experimentation, these Pantam stands are described as being a: 'Revolutionary, lightweight, foldable playing stand, designed especially for handpans and tongue drums.'  And we've got to admit, that just like the proverbial rose - they do seem pretty sweet.  Check out the official launch video below...



Pantam stands allow playing while both standing up and sitting down, and make it easy to combine multiple Pantams together.  And are said to be very stable, simple to use, and super portable.  The Pantam stands are fast to setup and makes it easy to switch between standing and sitting playing positions. And each Pantam stand ships with a custom case and an adjustable carrying strap.

For more information and/or to make a purchase you can find them for sale via the official website: HERE.  Or via Italy-based Handpan case and accessories stockist Hardcase Technologies: HERE.

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